Eureka Springs is a place saturated with history…a wild west frontier, a town built by water granting recovery to millions through healing springs, a Victorian treasure with a European feel. It is this reverence for the past that makes Eureka Springs the perfect place for the historical celebration of Mardi Gras.
With the eccentricity of Eureka, the community gave homage to the Crescent city with a “Taste of New Orleans Day” at a local cafe. The “Taste” included beignets and cafe au lait using the famous recipe straight from Cafe du Monde.
Origin of the Beignet
The beignet’s history can be traced back to the early Celtic word, “bigne,” meaning “to raise.” Beignets are made from raised yeast dough that is deep-fried and traditionally served hot and covered with powdered sugar.
Beignets have been associated with Mardi Gras in France since the 16th century. They were more than likely brought America when the French settled in Louisiana in the 1700’s. That is one possibility of origin however, Café du Monde, attributes the arrival of the beignet by French settlers who were ousted from Canada by the British in 1755. In any case, beignets were a traditional breakfast for French settlers and their families.
Origin of Chicory Coffee
The traditional pairing for beignets is chicory coffee. Root chicory has been used as a coffee substitute in Europe for centuries. The roots are baked, ground, and added to coffee It has also been popular as a coffee substitute in poorer areas.
The bitter and acidic coffee snaps the pallet to attention followed by a soothing, sweet beignet. You have to experience it for yourself. If you can’t get to New Orleans, celebrate an authentic Mardi Gras in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.